More New Yorkers dying from falls on the job

Jun 3, 2014

The number of people killed in workplace accidents in New York state as a result of falls has increased, according to the federal government’s workplace safety watchdog.

The number of fatalities at construction and industrial sites is decreasing overall, reports the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), but 42 workers in New York fell to their death in 2012, 10 more than the year before.

This is week is OSHA's fall safety week. The administration's Ron Williams says it important for workers to plan out a job and put safety measures in place before they start a job.

Anytime a worker is four feet off the ground at an industrial site or six feet at a construction job, OSHA's safety requirements kick in.

He says workers feel more empowered now than they used to to speak up about safety concerns.

"In today’s age, yes I do see that," he said. "I see more and more workers having a voice and coming to their supervisors and coming to their foremen and planning out a job before they start it."

Williams says he can’t cite a specific reason accidents involving falls increased in New York.

"We have seen a rise in New York state and I cannot say specifically. That may be because of more construction. But overall, fatalities nationwide have been reduced. We were over 4,600 in 2012. The year prior, we were higher than that," he said.

Fatal falls often occur when workers aren’t properly harnessed or railings and safety bars aren’t installed on roofs. Williams says it’s important for workers to plan and put safety measure in place before they begin those high-elevated job.